Unless you’ve been living in a cave—or drive an electric car—you know that gas prices have shot up to impressive highs, due to multiple factors that have been further exacerbated by the Russian war against Ukraine.
This it should come as no surprise that new-vehicle shoppers, already kneecapped by short supplies and ridiculous transaction prices, are once again shopping for more fuel-efficient rides. Unfortunately, with so many models requiring 91-octane premium-grade gas these days, a buyer could choose a higher-mileage model, only to pay more to run it than a stock vehicle that takes good old 87-octane regular.
As of this writing, the national average for a gallon of regular gas stands at $4.24, while it costs $4.91 for a premium. That’s a $0.67 per-gallon price differential, which can add up down the road. The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) fuel cost calculator estimates the difference between driving a vehicle that gets a combined 28 mpg for 15,000 annual miles would cost $400 more per year if it requires premium-grade gas instead of regular. That’s an extra $2,000 out of pocket over a five-year ownership period.
Choosing a “regular” car, truck, or SUV has gotten difficult as the higher-compression turbocharged and direct fuel-injected engines used in today’s vehicles often require premium-grade fuel to achieve their maximum performance potential. That includes almost all luxury-branded models and red-hot sports cars, as well as several vehicles from mainstream automakers like Chevrolet and Toyota.
There are some exceptions, however. For example, some Dodge Challenger and Charger trims, most Chevrolet Camaros, and all Ford Mustangs (with the obvious exception of the full-electric Mach-e) run on regular. Likewise with the full-size Ford F-150 pickup and Expedition SUV, along with most versions of General Motors’ full-size pickup trucks and SUVs, which one might expect could benefit from any sort of added muscle. Likewise, there are also a limited number of bona fide luxury vehicles that still take 89 octane.
We’ve compiled separate lists of the mainstream-brand cars, trucks, and SUVs for the 2022 model year that specify premium-grade gas, along with the luxury cars that can save their owners some cash by running on regular.
At any rate, if you’re shopping for a new vehicle or will be in the not-too-distant future, you’ll want to check ahead of time to determine if models under your consideration require regular or premium-designated fuel. That information can be found for current and past models at the EPA’s fueleconomy.gov website, and it’s also printed on a label that’s affixed to the inside of the fuel filler door and are noted in the vehicle’s owner’s manual.
While today’s engines include a so-called knock sensor that can automatically alter the timing of the spark plugs to safely accommodate lower octane fuel than is otherwise recommended, a car’s performance and its fuel economy will be adversely affected to some degree if it’s tank is filled with regular when premium-grade is otherwise advised.
And it bears mentioning there’s absolutely no advantage to running a car on premium fuel if it’s built specifically to consume 89-octane regular gas.
Mainstream Cars, Trucks, And SUVs That Take Premium Fuel
- Chevrolet Camaro; 2.0-liter turbo, 6.2-liter V8, 6.2-liter supercharged V8
- Chevrolet Corvette; 6.2-liter V8
- Chevrolet Malibu; 2.0-liter turbo four
- Chevrolet Silverado; 6.2-liter V8
- Chevrolet Suburban; 6.2-liter V8
- Chevrolet Tahoe; 6.2-liter V8
- Dodge Challenger; 6.2-liter supercharged V8, 6.4-liter V8
- Dodge Charger; 6.2-liter supercharged V8
- GMC Sierra; 6.2-liter V8
- GMC Yukon/Yukon XL: 6.2-liter V8
- Honda Civic; 1.5-liter turbo four
- Hyundai Elantra N; 2.0-liter turbo four
- Hyundai Kona N; 2.0-liter turbo four
- Hyundai Veloster N; 2.0-liter turbo four
- Jeep Grand Wagoneer; 6.4-liter V8
- Jeep Wrangler 4-Door; 6.4-liter V8
- Kia Stinger; 2.5-liter turbo four, 3.3-liter turbo V6
- Mazda MX-5 Miata; 2.0 liter four
- MINI Cooper Clubman; 2.0-liter turbo four
- MINI Cooper Countryman; 1.5-liter turbo three, 2.0-liter turbo four
- MINI Cooper SE Countryman All4; 1.5-liter PHEV turbo three
- MINI Cooper Hardtop and Convertible; 1.5 liter turbo three, 2.0-liter turbo four
- Nissan Armada; 5.6-liter V8
- Nissan Maxima; 3.5-liter V6
- Nissan Titan; 5.6-liter V8
- Ram 1500; 6.2-liter supercharged V8
- Subaru BRZ; 2.4-liter four
- Subaru WRX; 2.4-liter turbo four
- Toyota GR 86; 2.4-liter four
- Toyota GR Supra; 2.0-liter turbo four, 3.0-liter turbo V6—check
- Volkswagen Arteon; 2.0-liter turbo four
- Volkswagen Golf R; 2.0-liter turbo four
Luxury Cars And SUVs That Run On Regular Gas
- Audi A3; 2.0-liter turbo four
- Audi Q3; 2.0-liter turbo four
- Audi T; 2.0-liter turbo
- Cadillac XT5; 3.6-liter V6
- Cadillac XT6; 3.6-liter V6
- Lexus ES; 2.5-liter hybrid four; 3.5-liter V6
- Lexus NX; 2.5-liter four
- Lexus RX; 3.5-liter V6
- Lexus UX; 2.0-liter hybrid four, 2.0-liter hybrid four
- Lincoln Aviator; 3.0-liter V6, 3.0-liter PHEV V6
- Lincoln Corsair: 2.0-liter turbo four; 2.3-liter turbo four, 2.5-liter PHEV four
- Lincoln Nautilus; 2.0-liter turbo four
- Lincoln Navigator; 3.5-liter turbo V6
- Volvo XC40; 2.0-liter turbo four